Digital Camera

Nikon 2021 battle-comparison: DSLR vs mirrorless

Every year, many photographers wonder which is better: a DSLR vs mirrorless camera. Surprisingly, the answer will be different every year. Today, SLR cameras are becoming more and more elite, focusing on their strengths, and mirrorless cameras are gaining wide market and popular love. Let’s take a look at Nikon cameras, which will be the hottest choices in 2021.

The Size

NikonD810 Mirrorless Vs dslr
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DSLRs are usually significantly larger than mirrorless cameras. This is due to the design of cameras using a mirror, from which the image enters the matrix of the device. The advantage of this format is that SLR cameras are more convenient for working with large telephoto lenses. In addition, as a rule, they have more comfortable ergonomics – they have a more comfortable grip.

Mirrorless cameras work differently and are therefore more compact. It is convenient to take them with you on trips and location shooting. The flip side of the coin is that a lightweight body won’t support a large lens without a good tripod.

At the same time, I cannot say that absolutely all mirrorless cameras are compact, and DSLRs are bulky. The Nikon D3500 is a good example of a small DSLR camera suitable for novice photographers and is small in size. The camera weighs 415 g. True, the camera is sharpened in the photo; there is no 4K shooting and a touchscreen. But there is an APS-C matrix with a resolution of 24.2 megapixels.

A mirrorless camera with a similar Nikon Z50 sensor costs almost twice as much, although it offers 4K shooting and a touchscreen.

Winner: Mirrorless Cameras

Choice of lenses

NikonD810 Mirrorless Vs dslr
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We are used to thinking that mirrorless cameras have fewer lenses, but that gap has narrowed in recent years. There are still more original and third-party lenses developed for DSLRs. Still, with the rise in popularity of mirrorless cameras, companies have a reason and incentive to create accessories for them. Read our review on the Nikon Z 14-24mm f / 2.8 S Compact Mirrorless Wide-Angle if you missed it.

Plus, you can also use SLR lenses with mirrorless cameras – only an adapter is needed.

But if you choose a camera based on the availability of your lens lineup, Nikon’s DSLR is your best bet. In addition to glasses of different optical and price ranges from the manufacturer, you can find alternatives from Sigma and Tamron, which, by the way, are much cheaper.

Nikon D7500 is a fast and accurate camera. Its size allows for the use of both large and small lenses.

Read Review: Nikon Z FC live-action

Winner: SLR Cameras

Battery

Battery Mirrorless vs dslr
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One significant advantage DSLRs have that is definitely out of reach for mirrorless cameras is battery endurance. On average, the battery of a DSLR camera lasts for 600-800 frames, while for flagship professional cameras, this figure can reach 1000-2000 on a single charge.

Compact mirrorless cameras have less powerful batteries and are also wasted on the Live View screen and electronic viewfinder. The charge is usually enough for 300-400 frames. Long photo shoots will require either recharge or an additional battery pack.

However, the developers are working on this parameter, and the performance of advanced models reaches 600-700 frames.

Our favorite is the Nikon D850 battery, which is capable of 3300 shots. It is one of the highest rates among DSLRs. It is a premium camera with a powerful 45.7MP full-frame sensor and 4K recording.

Winner: SLR Cameras

Viewfinder

NikonD810 Mirrorless Vs dslr
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DSLR cameras are equipped with an optical viewfinder. Many photographers prefer optics for their natural reproduction of light and color. In addition, the optical viewfinder cannot fail like electronics and is better when shooting in the dark. But the optical viewfinder is more difficult to adapt to low vision. If you have a minus, you often have to adjust the focus almost blindly, especially on older cameras.

Modern electronic viewfinders have noticeably succeeded; they naturally convey the scene and analyze the parameters, displaying the data on display. Electronic viewfinders make it easier to operate and set up your camera. But not all mirrorless cameras have them, and many use Live-View – a digital screen. It’s great for focusing and shooting videos without the need to peer through the viewfinder constantly.

Nikon Z5 is a top-class mirrorless camera with an interchangeable lens and electronic viewfinder. In the Z series, the viewfinder captures almost 100% of the scene from an approximately 37-degree angle of view. The viewfinder displays data on the screen to simplify the shooting process. 

Winner: Mirrorless Cameras

Autofocus

NikonD810 Mirrorless Vs dslr
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In 2021, the situation is very different from what was on the market several years ago. DSLRs used to have a significant advantage and were considered more suitable for shooting subjects in motion.

Most mirrorless cameras are now equipped with hybrid and phase-detection autofocus systems, making them better and more advanced for capturing moving subjects. In addition, the burst mode, which is used, for example, for shooting sports events, is also faster on mirrorless cameras. 

The Nikon Z6 II has hybrid autofocus with 273 focus points, illumination, face detection, and rangefinder. This is a modern system that detects the shooting scene and adjusts focus for a photo or video.

Winner: Mirrorless Cameras 

Video

When shooting video, mirrorless cameras give odds to their mirror colleagues. Firstly, manufacturers deliberately focused on the video capabilities of these cameras. Mirrorless cameras have a convenient autofocus mode. They are lightweight – you can take them with you to make vlogs; autofocus is fast and quickly catches movements in the frame. Almost all mirrorless cameras shoot video in high definition and with good frames per second.

DSLRs have several disadvantages when it comes to video. Starter cameras for beginners cannot offer a high enough resolution, and video is shot with a crop factor. If the camera does not have a Live View mode or the screen is not flip-down, an operator will need to shoot a vlog. Most DSLRs shoot only Full HD, while 4K is already considered the standard format.

Almost any Nikon mirrorless camera now shoots in 4K at a minimum frame rate of 30 frames per second. Flagships like the  Nikon Z7, which shoots smooth videos up to 120fps.

Read article: 5 best mirrorless camera under 1000 dolors

Winner: Mirrorless Cameras

Outcome

NikonD810 Mirrorless Vs dslr
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Which Nikon camera should you choose in 2021? In most of the categories we looked at, the mirrorless Camera won out. But does this mean that the choice is obvious? Not really. 

Before making a final decision, be sure to define your goal. For photography professionals, a DSLR is a better choice. A crop factor DSLR is a good starting point for a beginner. 

If you shoot video or action footage, travel a lot, and look for a modern multifunctional device, then the mirrorless is the perfect solution to your problems.

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